We’ve been in D for the week and it has been hot, hot, hot! And humid to boot. Temps in the middle 100’s but feels like 120-125. Wow! By the end of each day, we are zapped, as our training site has no air conditioning. But the training has gone about as well as can be expected. The guys are making the kind of progress we want. But there are challenges. The men have such a hard time following instructions for even the simplest things, steps that we do over and over, but still have to tell them how each time. It is not because they are not bright, (just the opposite!), but their culture does not prepare them for this.
We are on our second workshop and few of them passed on the first one, mainly because they lack confidence. Passing the training on is a requirement, so we spent a lot of time working with them on plans of action over the next months because if they do not pass it on now they cannot return to the training. I think they get that now.
One pastor, did not pass the training on, but did preach through the book of Jonah in his church. He has only learned about observation and context so far, but also that he is to stick with what the text actually says. He said he had never preached on judgment in his church before but had to in Jonah (since that is what the text says). A group in his church had been trying to force “lower” people out of the church. As a result of his preaching on Jonah they repented, something he said he had never seen before in his church. He was amazed. Another family threw all their household gods out also. And we wonder why we do this training…
The men have been somewhat reluctant to open up fearing that they would give the wrong answer. We finally had a good heart-to-heart talk with them. We talked about learning together and that God is not demanding perfection, just progress. The men seemed to relax after that and the discussions became better. I think that they have really gotten the idea of preaching the text and are eager to do so. The multiplication issue is still a challenge for them so we are praying that they will follow through.
Edie has had a challenge with the ladies, who are less educated than the men are. Her first translator tried to teach rather than translate, then a good godly man stepped in and took over but he at times disagreed with the teaching. Edie is so patient yet she wondered if the women were really learning that much. She did simple observation exercises and worked through Jonah with them asking them what they thought the main points were. Today the leader’s wife told her that in 20 years of having teachers come, they had never learned as much as they had from Edie. She was shocked but once again amazed that the Lord has granted her the opportunity to do this, sweat and all.
Yesterday I had the privilege of going to a different site and helping do a pre-conference for another group led by our friend Daniel. Edie and Steve continued to sweat away while I was in air conditioning all day. Edie said I owed her big time. But it really doesn’t matter because, like the federal government, my debt level with her is unrepayable. Thankfully, she is a good and gracious wife to put up with me.
Tomorrow we head south to T where we trained previously for 4 years. We look forward to seeing our friends and catching them up with the revisions in our material. Then we travel to Sri Lanka with Seth, one of our trainers, to do the II Timothy workshop there.
Please pray for our stamina and attitudes that we will remain focused on God and not our environment. It looks like we will drop to under a 100 in T and Sri Lanka but there will be much less humidity, so it will feel 20 some degrees cooler. Praise the Lord!